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Colossians 4:1

ESV Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
NIV Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
NASB Masters, grant your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
CSB Masters, deal with your slaves justly and fairly, since you know that you too have a Master in heaven.
NLT Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master — in heaven.
KJV Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
NKJV Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

What does Colossians 4:1 mean?

The first verse of this chapter concludes the instructions to bondservants and masters from the previous chapter. After giving instructions to bondservants, Paul noted in Colossians 3:25 that all men would be given an impartial judgment by God. With that in mind, Paul here warns masters to be fair in their dealings with their servants. This was contrary to the cultural norm of Colossae and most other ancient cities. Though mistreatment may have been culturally acceptable, it was not suitable for a believer in Christ. This command to "treat your bondservants justly and fairly" is consistent with the many teachings of the Old Testament to treat servants well, in addition to Christ's emphasis on "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39–40).

Paul's most pressing reason for this perspective, however, is that the freedman has a Master of his own: the Lord in heaven. If a human master was unjust, God (their Master) knew about it. Again repeating the theme of Colossians 3:17—doing all for God's glory—Paul emphasized proper treatment of people as something God sees, knows, and holds with deep regard.
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